Three Principals of A&O Entities Arrested and Charged for Their Alleged Roles in $100 Million Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice September 09, 2010|
RICHMOND, VA—Three principals of a group of businesses that acquired and marketed life settlements to investors were arrested and charged in an 18-count indictment for their alleged roles in a $100 million fraud scheme with more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada.
The charges were announced today by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
An indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia charges Christian M. Allmendinger, 39; Adley H. Abdulwahab, 35; and David C. White, 40, with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, six counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, six counts of money laundering, and four counts of securities fraud. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of approximately $103 million from all three defendants.
“Today’s announcement is another example of how allegations in a national financial fraud case can directly harm everyday people on Main Street,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The alleged victims in this case are not banks or professional investors taking a calculated risk. Instead, this case involves elderly retirees and others who gave most—and in some cases, all—of their life savings and have seen it all disappear.”
“These defendants allegedly defrauded unsuspecting investors of more than $100 million, often for their own personal enrichment,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “As a result of their alleged scheme, more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada were cheated out of their savings and deceived. Through the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force we are continuing to root out financial fraud in all its forms.”
According to the indictment, Allmendinger, Abdulwahab, White and their co-conspirators were principals with A&O Resource Management Ltd., and various related entities, which sold life settlement investments. The defendants allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud investors by making misrepresentations about such things as A&O’s prior success, its size and office locations, its number of employees, the risks of its investment offerings, and its safekeeping and use of investor funds. The indictment further alleges that when state regulators began to scrutinize A&O’s investment products, Abdulwahab and his co-conspirators manufactured a pair of sham transactions in which A&O was “sold” to a shell corporate entity named Blue Dymond and later to another shell corporate entity named Physician’s Trust. It is alleged that following these sham transactions, White became the figurehead president of A&O and Physician’s Trust, but that A&O was still secretly controlled by Abdulwahab and other co-conspirators. The indictment also alleges that Allmendinger, Abdulwahab and their co-conspirators routinely used investor funds for personal enrichment.
If convicted of all the charges in the indictment, Allmendinger, Abdulwahab and White face up to 20 years in prison on each count except the four securities fraud counts, on which they face up to five years in prison per count.
In addition to Allmendinger, Abdulwahab, and White, four other individuals have been charged with criminal offenses in connection with the A&O fraud scheme. Brent Oncale, 36, of Houston, was charged in a two-count criminal information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role as vice president of A&O. Russell E. Mackert, 51, of Spring, Texas, was charged in a two-count criminal information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bulk cash smuggling for his role as an attorney in the A&O scheme. Eric M. Kurz, 46, of The Woodlands, Texas, was charged in a one-count criminal information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering for his actions as a wholesaler of A&O investment products. Tomme Bromseth, 68, of Blackstone, Va., was charged in a two-count criminal information with mail fraud and structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements for his role as an A&O sales agent in the Richmond area. In addition to the charging documents, signed plea agreements for Mackert, Oncale, Kurz and Bromseth were filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court hearings have yet to be scheduled.
This continuing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service and FBI, with significant assistance from the Texas State Securities Board. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry and Jessica Aber Brumberg from the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Albert B. Stieglitz Jr., of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
The investigation has been coordinated by the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force, an unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators to investigate and prosecute complex financial fraud cases in the nation and in Virginia. The task force is an investigative arm of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency national task force.
President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.